Four Rivers action heats up tonight|Vikings move up to No. 3 in rankings

Published 12:24 am Friday, October 22, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
After playing back-to-back area powerhouses Plymouth still stands tall atop the Four Rivers Conference as the Vikings head into Week 10 with a perfect 8-0, 4-0 record and moved up one spot in the NCHSAA 1-A rankings to No. 3
Plymouth will look to extended its eight-game winning streak tonight when it hosts a tough Camden (4-4, 3-1) that is tied for second in the conference with Manteo (6-2, 3-1), who will be playing at Perquimans (4-4, 3-2).
Perquimans is a part of a three-team logjam at third place that also includes Riverside (6-2, 2-2) and Southside (6-2, 2-2). Trailing them is Northside (2-6, 0-4) and South Creek (0-8, 0-4).
The Knights will look to rebound from their Week 9 loss to Plymouth as it travels to Northside to take on the Panthers, while Southside is looking to string back-to-back wins together on the road against South Creek. Here is a look at the matchups:
Camden (4-4, 3-1) at No. 3 Plymouth (8-0, 4-0)
The Vikings passed what might be their two biggest tests of the year so far as they topped Southside 55-16 in Week 8 and then beat Riverside 41-20 in Week 9, with both games being on the road.
Plymouth appears to be the most complete team in the area as it possesses a dominant front line that features three 300-pounders, a stable of running backs that are all capable of 100-yard games and a staunch defense that can defend against the run and the pass.
Vikings’ coach Robert Cody said he likes the way his team has been playing so far, especially on the defensive side of the ball where he has seen the most improvement. The Vikings have gotten key contributions from both seniors and underclassmen this year. One of the young players who has stood out is sophomore linebacker Morgan Brooks.
“He had an excellent football game last week and he is one of the kids we fell has gotten a lot better,” Cody said. “We’ve got six sophomores on defense and they are getting better as the year goes on.”
That defense has allowed teams to score 20 points or more only three times this season. No team has gotten over 30.
Tonight, that Vikings defense will look to keep Camden’s option offense in check when they kickoff at 7 p.m. After losing to Southside in Week 6, the Bruins have ripped off three wins in a row with their last being a 56-6 victory over South Creek.
Riverside (6-2, 4-2) at Northside (2-6, 0-4)
After falling 41-20 to Plymouth last Friday the Knights will look to get back on track against Northside. Riverside coach Asim McGill said he liked the effort he received from his players last week.
“We made it 28-20 at the start of the fourth quarter I thought our kids had a chance but we just needed to make a stop here or there,” McGill said. “But one thing I liked is that the kids kept playing hard.”
McGill also felt the team needed to do a better job executing on offense.
“We were just a couple of plays away from making it a different game,” McGill said. “If a ball doesn’t go in and out of a receiver’s hands or if the quarterback hits a guy who is open in the flat. A few breaks in the game could make a big difference.”
After battling one of the best rushing teams in the area, the Knights will take on another team that excels in the run game in Northside.
“Northside has two pretty good backs and their quarterback is a really good athlete,” McGill said. “They can score a lot of points. I think they are better than their record indicates.”
The Panthers continue to be and up-and-down team as they have had explosive nights on offense where they have tallied 40 points twice this year, but have also been shutout three times, which includes last week’s 35-0 loss to Manteo.
“The score didn’t really indicate how well we played,” Northside coach Keith Boyd said of his loss to the Redskins. “It was 0-0 after the first quarter. They scored a touchdown with about seven or eight minutes to go in the first half and we would have been happy to go in down only 8-0. But then they stuck another one in and we kind of hung our heads after that. … Then we just kind of struggled offensively.”
Boyd said he could not remember coaching a team that has been as up and down as this one.
“No, it’s been really weird,” Boyd said. “We’ve been banged up for the last couple of weeks, we got only 17 players playing on Friday night. We are trying to keep both our JV and varsity teams, but it has caused us to play a lot of different people at different spots and when you do that it disrupts the timing and it kind of throws things out of whack. I don’t blame all our problems on that but I blame some on that.”
Southside (6-2, 2-2) at South Creek (0-8, 0-4)
After losing two games in a row the Seahawks bounced back with a 36-24 win over Perquimans last week. Southside has been rocked by injuries all season, but has been able to keep playing well thanks to the performances of some young players who have been able to step up and fill the voids.
Sophomore running back Rokeem Miller, who scored four touchdowns against Perquimans, has done a tremendous job for Southside at tailback, while Brian Dixon has been solid at tight end.
“I’m really pleased the way our two sophomores have stepped up in Brian Dixon and Rokeem Miller,” Seahawks’ coach DeWayne Kellum said. “I’ve been really pleased with their efforts. (Miller) wasn’t even on varsity at the beginning of the year and has played well. The tight end has done a great job blocking and can catch the ball too.”
The Seahawks also got quarterback Terrell Moore back on the field against Perquimans. Moore made his first start after hurting his ankle in Week 3. Kellum said he is still not 100 percent but he threw the ball well.
South Creek heads into tonight’s game still searching for its first win of the season and has been dealing with the absence of players as well.
“Last week we were missing six defensive starters and five offensive starters,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “We have just kind gone with the guys we got week to week.”
Jones said the Cougars will be getting some players back this week. The first-year coach also said he has seen some progress but it has come in stages.